Tap away: fidgeting at work may help your health

Tap away: fidgeting at work may help your health

A new UK study found fidgeting may counteract the effects of long-term sitting.

Those employees who have annoyed their coworkers for years with their leg shaking and pen tapping may be getting the last laugh.  A new study out of Britain has connected fidgeting with better overall health among office workers.

As Forbes reports, a new study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine set out to examine the effect of chronic fidgeting for workers.  They analyzed the data of over 12,000 women over 12 years for information about lifestyle and work habits as well as health issues or challenges.

Firstly, the study confirmed what is now common knowledge: sitting all day is quite detrimental to your health.  Even after adjusting for poor lifestyle habits such as smoking, women who sat for more than 7 hours a day had a 30% increased rate of mortality.  Interestingly, however, the study found that the women who identified as frequently fidgeting had no increased chance of mortality, even if they sat for the seemingly critical 7 hours.

While the study does not claim to discover the cause and effect of why fidgeting may improve your health, the researchers hypothesize that the constant movement of fidgeting motions may be counteracting the sedentary nature of office work.  James Kade of the University of Leeds explained that prolonged sitting lowers the body’s metabolism, which can lead to decreased healthy functioning.  “When sitting for prolonged periods, any movement might be good,” he said.  “Even fidgeting may offer enough of a break to make a difference.”

So, workers of the world, keep tapping your foot, and tell your office mates to do the same.  It’s likely good for you.


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